American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West

The enthralling story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her Before men ruled the Earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle o...

Title:American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West
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American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West Reviews

  • Andrew

    Hoooooooooooowwwll!

    A visceral and dramatic look at the lives, deaths, and empires of Yellowstone's wolves. Animal stories done well are always incredible insights into the world around us. And this is a worthy addition to the catalogue. Based on thousands of hours of observation and a multi-million word journal, you could not get closer to the wolves of the park. A must-read if you loved

    or

    .

  • karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!

    this is my nonfiction book for the month, chosen because i like wolves, but sean of the house LOVES wolves, and i was going to give this to him when i finished, but i'm afraid it would break his sensitive irish heart.

    according to this book, wolves have a life expectancy of about five years in the wild, and this book chronicles several generations of wolves living in yellowstone, so you do the math there.

    this book was pulled together from the well-detailed accounts of the wolf-wat

    NOW AVAILABLE!!

    this is my nonfiction book for the month, chosen because i like wolves, but sean of the house LOVES wolves, and i was going to give this to him when i finished, but i'm afraid it would break his sensitive irish heart.

    according to this book, wolves have a life expectancy of about five years in the wild, and this book chronicles several generations of wolves living in yellowstone, so you do the math there.

    this book was pulled together from the well-detailed accounts of the wolf-watchers in yellowstone; individuals who devoted their lives to observing these magnificent beasts every day, coming to know their behaviors and ‘personalities,’ monitoring their struggles for dominance within their packs, their clashes with other packs, and witnessing births and deaths in an ever-changing pack dynamic.

    as i said, i like wolves, but in a casual “oh, how lovely they are” way without being any kind of wolf

    or anything, so i learned a lot from this book. i didn’t know that wolves had been eliminated from yellowstone (and most of the US) in the ’20’s in order to protect the park’s delicious elk, deer, moose, & etc and were only reintroduced in 1995, when wolves imported from canada were allowed to return to an ecosystem that had actually been negatively impacted by their removal in the first place. what followed was a wolf explosion that did indeed restore the natural balance but also caused outrage in the local humans, as idaho, montana and wyoming are full of hunters and ranchers long accustomed to viewing wolves as a threat to their livelihood. so not only is the book full of the stories of the wolves under the park’s protection, but also about the inevitable wolf diaspora, as packs ranged outside of safety and caused no end of consternation and legislature about what should be done to protect the elk and cattle that humans were planning on killing. it’s

    meets

    and both situations are fascinating in their own way.

    on the wolf side, the star of the book is the alpha female O-Six (named for the year of her birth)*, who made herself a favorite of yellowstone’s many wolf-watching groupies by demonstrating phenomenal abilities in hunting prowess, strategic evasion, admirable leadership qualities, and fecundity. if you google “O-Six and yellowstone,” you get the cliffs notes version of what happened to her, but you’d miss out on all the stories told in this book about her and her pack and her rivals. this is a nature book, so there’s no shoddy anthropomorphization, but it’s hard not to fall in love a little bit. internet assures me the following are all photos of her, and more can be found

    .

    a superstar of a wolf.

    the legal track is absolutely bizarre; convoluted and counterintuitive. it involves the authorization of wolf-hunting in the three states surrounding yellowstone: idaho, montana and wyoming, and it turns into a mishmash of state and federal legislature, sneaky riders smooshed into unrelated bills, science vs. politics, rulings overturned, wolves placed on and off the endangered species list with shifting boundaries, and flinging money at the problem in such contradictory ways:

    america is crazytown.

    it kind of hurts my heart a little to think of someone hunting a wolf, since there’s no “feeding my family” exemption, and it’s purely for sport or the protection of livestock (which i do understand, but cattle are big and dumb and delicious, and it’s not just wolves who get that - there are also bears and coyotes and probably some other beasts determined enough to attack a little one), but i

    say that of all the wolves who died in this book, at least the ones shot by hunters died instantly, as opposed to the many who died of injuries sustained in territory disputes with other packs or starved to death.

    actually, scratch that - there was one wolf who was illegally shot by a hunter and wandered off to die slowly, and his story was the one that hit my heart the worst, because he was a collared wolf, so his location was known to the biologists working on the wolf restoration project, but because “they weren’t zookeepers, after all,” and didn’t intervene in the fates of the wolves, he slowly starved to death over the course of eleven days. again, this is a decision i understand with my brain, but it does nothing to soothe my heart. it’s like that scene in that BBC

    documentary series where the baby elephant gets turned around in the sand storm and wanders in the opposite direction from the rest of the herd and dies and sir david attenborough just kinda shrugs and says, “nature, amiright?”** instead of swooping in to rotate the calf or at the very least, not airing that footage. because jeez.

    but i know, i know - when it comes to reading about/watching animals in the wild, it would be irresponsible to go into it thinking it’s going to be a disney paradise where animals help each other out and share the territory and no one ever eats anyone or wanders out into the storm, bawling piteously.

    nature gets hungry and nature doesn’t share.

    sure, sometimes someone forwards you some heartwarming story about a bear that adopts an orphaned raccoon and everyone goes “aawwwwww,” but generally speaking, in an environment with limited resources, benevolence to those outside of a very short range of community or family is a liability an animal cannot afford.

    wolves are pack animals, so loyalties extend somewhat outside of the pure family, but even within a pack, members submit to their alphas in frequent demonstrative ways, and wolves are also highly territorial, so when packs cross paths, carnage ensues.

    so, there are some parts of this book i know will ruin sean of the houses’s day, but he’s a particularly soft touch when it comes to animals, and if i could get him over that, i’m sure he would find this as fascinating and illuminating as i did, and be grateful that there are more wolves in our country, even if they don’t get to live as long as we’d like them to.

    * this is one of my few gripes - because they aren't pets, the wolves aren't given memorable people-names, but referred to by collar-numbers: 754, 820, 859 or, if uncollared, distinguishing markings or traits: middle gray, shy male. i am bad at math, so i got mixed-up sometimes.

    ** that is what my heart heard him say, anyway.

    *********************************************

    full review still in the works, but definitely one for 'to-read' lists of those who can handle the end results of animals doing what animals do, and hunters doing what hunters do.

  • Rebecca Foster

    By the 1920s, wolves had almost been eradicated from the Lower 48 states. In 1995–6, though, two rival packs were brought in from Canada to repopulate Yellowstone National Park. Blakeslee gives a panoramic overview of the reintroduction project and the recurring clashes between hunters and biologists about whether wolves should be a protected species. He keeps his account relatable by focusing on particular family groups of wolves and bringing out the animals’ individual personalities.

    One import

    By the 1920s, wolves had almost been eradicated from the Lower 48 states. In 1995–6, though, two rival packs were brought in from Canada to repopulate Yellowstone National Park. Blakeslee gives a panoramic overview of the reintroduction project and the recurring clashes between hunters and biologists about whether wolves should be a protected species. He keeps his account relatable by focusing on particular family groups of wolves and bringing out the animals’ individual personalities.

    One important wolf pack was the Druids, which “were like the Kennedys, American royalty.” O-Six, an alpha female of the third generation so named because she was born in 2006, is one of the main animal characters here, with two central human characters being Rick McIntyre, a long-time National Park Service ranger and wolf expert, and Steven Turnbull (an alias), an elk hunter from Crandall, Wyoming.

    The 2011 federal budget snuck in a rider removing wolves from the endangered species list in Montana and Idaho. The same followed for Wyoming, heralding an open hunting season on wolves for the first time in 50 years. Though his sympathies are clear, Blakeslee doesn’t demonize those who killed Yellowstone wolves that strayed beyond the park boundaries. He also emphasizes that the battle over this species reflects a wider struggle “over public land—what it should be used for and who should have the right to decide.”

    It’s especially interesting to read about the animals’ behavior: a wolf uncle hanging around to help raise the pups, O-Six fighting off grizzlies near her den, showdowns between packs, and pups hunting mice and ravens for fun.

    Originally published on my blog,

    .

  • Kate Olson

    Nate Blakeslee has done what very few writers can. He has taken a group of wild animals and created an epic drama surrounding their lives ~ a drama that reads entirely like fiction or the best type

    Nate Blakeslee has done what very few writers can. He has taken a group of wild animals and created an epic drama surrounding their lives ~ a drama that reads entirely like fiction or the best type of biography. I honestly didn't think it was possible for an almost-300-page tome about wolves to be a page turner, but it truly, truly is. Blakeslee includes just the right balance between the people and politics surrounding the wolves with the actions of the actual wolves to ensure that readers understand just how perilous this animal's survival chances are. And really, the survival chances of any wild animals in the United States. The stories in this book about Yellowstone and the federal and state agencies regulating the park and wildlife honestly make me despair about the way our nation is run on an entirely new level. Bureaucracy trumps nature at every single turn, but the hearts of those dedicated to protecting wolves give me hope.

    Required reading for nature lovers, hunters, and anyone who loves quality nonfiction. This is one of the best out there.

    Now, a little bit about my background coming into this book so you can understand my unbridled love for it. First of all, I read National Geographic cover to cover every single month. Nature writing is my THING. Next, we live in rural Wisconsin and the hunting/preservation topic is always close by. In addition, my family has a major wolf obsession due to my son's extreme interest in them ~ he currently has 8 stuffed wolves that he has with him at all times, a wolf mask, posters, calendars, blankets, and countless books on this topic. The arrival of this book in my household as an advance copy was a cause for great celebration, and I can not wait for my husband and son to get to share it next. My husband also has family in Wyoming and is an avid hunter ~ we have always had spirited conversations about wildlife management, and this book just adds to our discussion fodder.

    One of my favorite reads of 2017.

  • Jessaka

    Wolf 0-06

    “He decided he wanted the gray. He exhaled and squeezed the trigger…

    The gray staggered and dropped.

    It was a long walk through the snow to where she lay…This was a trophy very few people in his part of the would had ever taken…

    When he came within fifty yards of his prize he caught a glimpse of movement in the brush behind her. The black wolf had returned. His eyes on the hunter, he stepped cautiously out of the willows and sat down not far from where the gray lay…He seemed to be waiting

    Wolf 0-06

    “He decided he wanted the gray. He exhaled and squeezed the trigger…

    The gray staggered and dropped.

    It was a long walk through the snow to where she lay…This was a trophy very few people in his part of the would had ever taken…

    When he came within fifty yards of his prize he caught a glimpse of movement in the brush behind her. The black wolf had returned. His eyes on the hunter, he stepped cautiously out of the willows and sat down not far from where the gray lay…He seemed to be waiting to see what the hunter would do next…

    Then the black lifted his snout into the air and howled. It was the sound the hunter had heard many times over the years but never like this, alone in the snow with the wolf a stone’s throw away. He stood still and listened, transfixed. The wolf howled again, long and louder this time.

    From the willows behind the black, more wolves began to emerge…They arrayed themselves in a loose semicircle around the black, all silently focused on the body of the gray…

    The black howled a third time, and suddenly they all joined in. The hunter stood there, agape, disarmed by the otherworldly sound, by the sheer overwhelming sadness of the cry. She was their leader, he thought.”

    This book was powerful and unforgettable. If you think that you can’t stop the killing of wolves, well, you are wrong. Public outcry has worked. It still can.

    If you think that wolves can’t live peacefully with man, you are again wrong. Some are learning to stay away from ranches, but there is more that can be done, mostly outcry.

    Rick McIntyre worked for over 20 years at Yellowstone, just watching wolves all day long along with other watchers who could be seen parked along the roads with telescopes and cameras. My husband and I were driving through Yellowstone one day, and stopped when we saw cars and pickups parked along the road.

    I walked across the street to ask what was happening. A man told me that an elk was down and a bear and 5 wolves were fighting over it, but that the wolves had retreated. He allowed me to look through his binoculars. I saw nothing. He walked over to another man and then came back and took me over to look through another man’s telescope. I saw a white wolf. Then a black wolf was sitting down looking at the crowd. The man moved the telescope so that I could see the bear standing over the elk. I think I said, “Oh, my God!” I would have never had thought that I would even have wanted to see something like this. Me, who wishes no animals to be ever killed. But I wanted to stay there all day with them and wished I had come earlier.

    Rick never grew tired of it. He watched them play, fight, have cubs, go after their prey. He watched everything, and he took notes, but he never stayed away long enough to write a book. Perhaps these are his notes, or at least some of them.

    This book is mostly about his watching 0-06, the most famous of all the Yellowstone wolves.

    The fight between Fish and Game, the ranchers and the public has raged for years in and out of the courts. This is not an easy book to read. If you are a rancher you just want to kill every wolf, and I suppose this book would infuriate you. If you love wolves you will be brought to tears and then to anger. You will even ask yourself why the Department of Agriculture thinks it has to kill “ten of thousands of predators annually—mostly coyotes but also bobcats, mountain lions, black bears, foxes, and red-tailed hawks—just to protect the cattle and sheep. Have we ever thought to live differently? To allow life to survive on its own terms?

    The wolves’ impact on cattle has only been about 200 a year, whereas out of 5 million cattle across three States, tens of thousands have been killed every year by winter storms, lightning, floods and drought.” The wolves do so much less damage, but some people like to hunt, and then in time they can wipe out wolves, if we don’t put a stop to it.

    I had read another book right after coming home from our trip through Yellowstone, “In the Temple of Wolves” by Rick Lamplugh. He has suggestions online on what we can do to change things. He has a blog called, “How to Build a Culture that Respects Wolves.”

    I want to thank NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book. And I wish to thank the author for writing it, and hope that if he doesn’t put a wolf on the cover, then perhaps he will put a photo of the famous wolf, 0-06 in the inside cover.

  • Will Byrnes

    - image from Texas Monthly

    In Eurasia and North America, at least, where there have been people there have always been wolves. They have been a significant feature in the lore of most cultures, usually in a negative way. While the tale of the she-wolf Lupa nurturing Romulus and Remus gives wolves some rare positive press, and native peoples of North America offer the wolf considerable respect, wolves have not, for the most part, received particularly positive press in the last few hundred years. The obvious cultural touchstone for most North Americans and Europeans would be the story of

    , followed closely by tales of lycanthropy, and maybe a shepherd boy who sounded a false alarm a time too many. The wolf is embedded in our culture as something to be feared, a great and successful hunter, a rival. Homo sap is a jealous species and does its best to eliminate other apex predators whenever we take over their turf. Such has been the case with

    . And we have been taking over lots and lots of turf.

    - image from StudyBreaks.com

    As is so often the case when people are involved, action precedes understanding. European settlers in North America, carrying forward Old World biases, saw wolves as a threat to their safety. Incidents of wolf attacks on people are quite rare, though. Settlers feared for their livestock as well. There was certainly

    basis for concern there, but not nearly enough to warrant the response. In fact, wolves serve a very useful function in the larger biome, culling the weaker specimens from natural populations, and thus helping secure the continued health of the overall prey population. The settler response was wholesale slaughter, a public program of eradication, a final solution for wolves. But actions have consequences. The result, in Yellowstone Park, was a boom in ungulate population, which had secondary effects. Increased numbers of elk and other prey animals gobbled up way too much new growth, impacting the flora of the area, unbalancing the park’s ecosystem, seriously reducing the population, for example, of cottonwood and aspen trees, with many other changes taking place as well. Where wolves live they contribute to the balance of their environment. When they are removed, that balance is destroyed.

    It is eminently clear that people are quite accomplished at ignoring reality, and extremely proficient at substituting the mythological for the actual, often helped along by the unscrupulous self-interested, who promote falsehoods in order to preserve their personal investments, enhance their proprietary interests, or enrich themselves or those they represent. But sometimes science breaks through the veil of obfuscation and is able to get a hearing for the truths it has unearthed. Such was the case with our understanding of how wolves impact our world. It was due to this understanding and the persistent efforts of ecological activists that a plan was approved to reintroduce wolves into a few locations in the lower 48 states. Yellowstone was the primary site for the program.

    - image from Earthjustice.com

    The first wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone in 1995. That year a star was born, “21M.”

    21 becomes the alpha of the Druid pack, manifesting that most important of leadership qualities, empathy. The Druids were like the Kennedys to some, lupine royalty. In 2006, one generation removed, 21’s granddaughter is born, O-Six. It is her tale that Blakeslee tells here. Well, one half of the tale, anyway. There are two paths followed here. One is the life and times of O-Six, a remarkable creature, and another remarkable creature, one who stands upright, Rick McIntyre.

    - image from the National Park Service

    We follow O-Six’s life from her puppyhood in the Agate Creek pack to her gathering together the wolves that would make up the Lamar Valley Pack. She is a wise leader, a skilled hunter. As she births pups, the pack grows. But there are other packs of wolves in Yellowstone, and conflict among them is a natural condition. In battle, O-Six demonstrates remarkable courage, in one instance standing fast, seriously outnumbered, against an invading pack, and engaging in Hollywood level derring-do to save the day. She succeeds despite having in her pack an Alpha male and his sibling referred to by watchers as

    for their limited hunting skills. We see her relocate as needed to take advantage of propitious territorial openings, or quarters removed from hostile forces. One of her moves put her in a location where wolf watchers could follow her pack’s exploits from the safe remove of a park road cutout. It is publicity from the group that gathered to ardently keep track of O-Six and her Lamar Pack’s exploits from this convenient watching site, (and others) that made her the most famous wolf in the world.

    - image from the National Park Service

    Rick McIntyre was constitutionally more of a lone wolf sort, a National Park Ranger, happiest out in the field, whether studying grizzlies in Denali, where he became a top-drawer wildlife photographer, or studying wolves in Yellowstone. He was introduced to wolves by a top wolf biologist, Gorbon Haber, building his expertise and writing

    . The book was published in 1993. It expounded on the culture of wolves, significantly broadening our understanding of the species. His work was instrumental in providing support for reintroduction efforts. This work landed him a spot at Yellowstone, where he slowly improved his people skills, and became a fixture around which study and monitoring of the park packs centered, the leader of the wolf-study pack. He is a charismatic, passionate character and you will enjoy getting to know him.

    - image from NatGeo Wild

    There are other elements in the book. The growth of the wolf-watching culture and the Yellowstone watchers club is given plenty of attention. The politics of reintroduction, protection, and attempts to remove protection get their share of ink as well. There is much in here that will raise your blood pressure. Impressively, Blakeslee includes a depiction of the man who shot O-Six. It is not the drooling monster portrayal one might expect. Blakeslee takes pains to consider the perspective of hunters. There is a description of a marauding, death-dealing pack, the Mollies, that will remind you of the Borg, or a zombie apocalypse. It is as tension, and fear-filled a portrayal as you will find in any of the best action-adventure fiction.

    - image from NatGeo Wild

    When studying wildlife, researchers are discouraged from forming emotional attachments to the objects of their study. Few animals live nearly so long as people, so your favorite [insert species here] will, as likely as not, perish before you. But readers of this book are under no such caution. Sitting in a laundromat, parked on a backless bench, book on an attached table, looking through the plate glass, rain soaking Hazle Avenue, drops cascading down the window, my eyes join the mass drip on reading Blakeslee’s description of the death of O-Six. I will admit that this happens sometimes when reading about people, but it does not happen often. I am saved from a public exhibition of heaving shoulders and stifled sobs by the buzzer announcing the end of a wash. If you have any tears left after this, you will turn them loose in an epilogue tale of 21’s mountain top trek as he neared death.

    - image from NatGeo Wild

    I only had one small beef about the book. I understand that researchers are discouraged from naming their study subjects, but it was quite inconsistent in application. Some had names, others were just numbers, and, frankly, it became a bit tough at times, keeping track of which number came from which pack, and was that one with this pack and this one with that pack. Really that’s it. Otherwise, no problemo

    - image from the National Park Service

    is a complex work, offering some science, some history, some political analysis, some prompts to raise your spirits, some that will make you cheer, and some dark moments that will make you turn away, fold the book closed, and wonder just what is wrong with some people. You will learn a lot, particularly about wolf culture. But primarily, it is a tale of hope, of reason triumphing over ignorance, of courage and heroism besting villainy. It joins the intellectual heft of offering considerable information with the gift of being incredibly moving.

    - image from National Park Service

    image from wolf.org

    Review – October 12, 2017

    Published – October 17, 2017

    =============================

    The author’s

    feed and a

    -----a clip from

    -----Learn to

    -----An admirer speaks fondly of wolves howling -

    -----A familiar item from

    -----Another from

    -----Not quite a video, more an

    about wolves with images and sound

    -----

    -----

    - by Haleigh Gullion

    -----

    - interview with Rick McIntyre

    -----

    ----- The

    offers a lot of information

    -----

    -----

    - free on Gutenberg

    -----

    -----Of particular relevance to this subject is the Farley Mowat enhanced memoir of his field research experience with wolves,

    , published in 1963, and the excellent 1983

    that was made of it

    From the film

    November 9, 2017 -

    is among the nominees for Amazon's book of the year - Science

  • Chrissie

    The central focus of this book is the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone Park and thus the Northern Rockies. By the 1920s wolves had for the most part become extinct in the lower 48 states of the US. In 1995 Canadian wolves were brought into Yellowstone Park. The book follows this reintroduction from the mid-90s to 2015.The conflict between conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists on one side and hunters, ranchers and miners on the other is the primary focus of this book. The bo

    The central focus of this book is the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone Park and thus the Northern Rockies. By the 1920s wolves had for the most part become extinct in the lower 48 states of the US. In 1995 Canadian wolves were brought into Yellowstone Park. The book follows this reintroduction from the mid-90s to 2015.The conflict between conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists on one side and hunters, ranchers and miners on the other is the primary focus of this book. The book is less about the species canis lupis. Nor is this a book of nature writing. It is about politics and money and competing interests in relation to wolves.

    Much attention is given to Obama’s efforts to reach a federal budgetary agreement in 2011 and Senator Jon Tester’s rider that reversed U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy’s court ruling classifying wolves as one of the endangered species. The book flips between court proceedings and political discussions and sections about the wolf packs in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone Park, Wyoming. The author himself mentions that to attract readers there has to be a heartfelt tie to some wolf and that names work better than numbers.

    We hear a bit about Limpy, but primarily we follow 0-Six, an alpha female, named for the year of her birth and granddaughter of wolves 21 and 42 who were the stars of those wolves originally brought in from Canada. We follow O-Six, her mate, his brother and three litters. I will admit that by the book’s end I had indeed become attached to her. Of course, I was rooting for those who supported the need to keep wolves protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

    This is a book of non-fiction, but one person goes by the alias Steven Turnbull. His name is changed to protect him. Yeah, he is the “bad guy”. The book concludes with an epilog. The author relates of his meeting with man. No, he still does not regret what he has done. I do think the author makes an attempt to be nonjudgmental, to express the views of opposing camps in a fair and balanced manner, but it is not hard to guess on which side he stands.

    I was looking for a book more focused on new research about wolves. That they have cognitive abilities and emotions is shown. The book sheds light on the dissolution and formation of wolf packs and the status of members within. However, I cannot say I learned anything new about wolves. The phenomenon of trophic cascade is mentioned. Classic wolf literature is referenced.

    Information is too often repeated. Why are we told of the rangers’ vehicle brands, the clothes they wore and the equipment used? To me this sounded like advertising.

    The audiobook is narrated by Mark Bramhall. He does a fine job. The information is easy to follow. My only quibble would be that when things go bad he sounds sour and whiny, but in a masculine way. The narration I have given four stars.

    I do not regret reading this book, but it was not quite what I was looking for. I would have preferred less politics and more about wolves.

  • Bam

    Have you ever been to Yellowstone? Did you spot a wolf there? This is the fascinating story of the Yellowstone Wolf Project and most especially the life story of O-Six, the great-granddaughter of one of the original wolves reintroduced to the national park in the winter of 1995.

    Yellowstone had been essentially devoid of wolves for almost seven decades. Their reintroduction has not been without controversy and heated debate with the inevitable conflict between hunters, ranchers, wildlife managem

    Have you ever been to Yellowstone? Did you spot a wolf there? This is the fascinating story of the Yellowstone Wolf Project and most especially the life story of O-Six, the great-granddaughter of one of the original wolves reintroduced to the national park in the winter of 1995.

    Yellowstone had been essentially devoid of wolves for almost seven decades. Their reintroduction has not been without controversy and heated debate with the inevitable conflict between hunters, ranchers, wildlife management, and environmentalists. Nate Blakeslee delves deeply into the political wrangling and maneuvers that has gone on to decide the issue of allowing the hunting of wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

    His story is most interesting when he delves into the personal stories of the people who cared so deeply for these wolves, most especially the park ranger Rick and his sidekick Laurie Lyman, a devoted wolf watcher whose notes Blakeslee relied upon for much of his story.

    But the stars of the story are really the wolves themselves and most especially O-Six, a powerful gray female with attractive markings that Rick and the watchers enjoyed keeping track of as she found a mate, boldly hunted and fought off members of other packs and eventually raised three litters of pups before her own demise. The reader gets a fascinating, in-depth look at what the daily of a wolf is like: the interactions between alpha male and female and others in the pack, how they hunt, den and raise their pups, how they protect their territory from other packs, etc.

    There is also the villain in the story, in the form of the hunter Steven Turnbull (name changed). The debate over whether the hunting of wolves is needed to control their numbers will probably continue but it has been decided that 'wolves belong in the Northern Rockies because they play a vital role in the ecosystem.'

    Many thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for giving me the opportunity to read an arc of this very interesting new book.

  • Diane S ☔

    3.5 Yellowstone and the wolf reclamation project, two main characters, McIntyre and one a wolf named O-six. The struggles with the ranchers, who see the wolves as predators, a risk to their cattle and their way of life. The hunters, who depend on elk for themselves and those they take on the hunt, are also concerned because a growing wolf population, means a lessening elk population. Those who love the wolves and spend much time watching them are of course on the side of the wolves. It was inter

    3.5 Yellowstone and the wolf reclamation project, two main characters, McIntyre and one a wolf named O-six. The struggles with the ranchers, who see the wolves as predators, a risk to their cattle and their way of life. The hunters, who depend on elk for themselves and those they take on the hunt, are also concerned because a growing wolf population, means a lessening elk population. Those who love the wolves and spend much time watching them are of course on the side of the wolves. It was interesting seeing this from all sides, and even though the author goes to great lengths to present a clear and unbiased viewpoint, one can tell he is firmly on the side of the wolves.

    O-Six, a fearless female, strikes out on her own and puts together her own pack. She becomes the target of other packs, ether defending their own territory or wanting hers. Much of this book is about following the different packs, who is fighting with who, what packs are the dominant ones. Quite interesting, a large pack can become decimated in a short period of time, either through the death of the alpha male or female or at the hands of a dominant pack. Admit to cheering O-Six on more than once, she was quite a wolf and managed to outrun many threats, obviously she was extremely smart as well.

    I came to my love of wolves in a round about way, through my children. A few of them had a fourth grade teacher who loved wolves, her classroom was full of everything and anything wolf, she took her vacations at places such as Yellowstone where she could observe them. Slideshows were regularly shown and parents were often invited. I grew to share in her passion, she was so enthusiastic about them it was hard to resist. This was well written and ably presented but not quite what I was looking for. Wanted more on individual wolf studies but this is not that book. Still glad I read it and glad more books about wolves are being published once again.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    3.5 stars

    I've always been a wolf fan. They are majestic animals and not just because I love reading the porny books featuring wolf shifters.

    Back in the day my now ex-husband and I heard about a man that bred hybrid wolves. We were interested and that's way before any legal aspects were really talked about. (I know..I'm old as crap.)

    We visited the man and we immediately fell in love with one of the pups. He was a shy little guy but the owner would not just let us take him. We had to meet with hi

    3.5 stars

    I've always been a wolf fan. They are majestic animals and not just because I love reading the porny books featuring wolf shifters.

    Back in the day my now ex-husband and I heard about a man that bred hybrid wolves. We were interested and that's way before any legal aspects were really talked about. (I know..I'm old as crap.)

    We visited the man and we immediately fell in love with one of the pups. He was a shy little guy but the owner would not just let us take him. We had to meet with him several times before we could take the animal. I never really knew the animals wolf percentage but at the time I was young and stupid enough to think it would all be okay. I know his mom was an Alaskan Malamute but I knew that there was definitely wolf blood in the pup.

    We named him Diablo and he really did become a member of our family.

    (My kids face is blurred on purpose even though this pic is over 20 years old...because trolls) Diablo was a pup in this photo.

    Now I'm going to admit. I loved that animal. He was extremely protective of my family. Would I do it again? Not on your life. Now as I'm older I know that wild animals should be wild and not bred with domestic animals. I love and appreciate them but we went through hell with him just being a mixed breed. Not because of the animal. My neighbors hated him. Not dislike. HATE. If he left our property (as animals will tend to do) people freaked out. Diablo was shot by my neighbor while he was standing in my yard. While we were outside with him. Was he doing anything? No, that didn't matter though. He was hit by a car once..on purpose. We went to court about him twice. Finally he was found poisoned when we returned home one day. I still miss him.

    If he had been an alpha male we probably would have had some trouble. I know this so don't troll me and tell me how stupid we were. Like you've never been stupid.

    Anyways, this book tells about wolves being reintroduced into Yellowstone Park. It does try and tell both sides of the story. From the hunter/farmer side to the wolf enthusiast. It is obvious that the author is pro-wolf though. As am I.

    He follows the story of one of the most famous wolves called O-six. She is an alpha female and it follows her from the time she meets her mate until she is killed.

    I'm not going to describe her life because I think you should read this book. I do know that it sucks that wolves have such short life spans. Not just because natural events happen that lessons their chances of survival, but that people hate what they really don't understand or can control.

    I will admit that when this wolf dies in the book I spent a good thirty minutes crying...and I hardly ever cry. I felt gut punched when I read that her mate cried over her body.

    Stop this stupid, people. Go read up on all the good things that happen when you have natural predators in an ecosystem.

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